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Google is Not Invincible

Search remains the company's only unequivocal hit.

Stephen Green


June 7, 2013 - 2:00 pm


Over at FT, John Gapper is just being silly:

Who will stop Google?

My answer is: nobody, or not easily. Indeed, the best comparison for Google seems to me not Microsoft in the 1980s but General Electric in the late 19th century – the age of electrification. Like GE, Google is a multifaceted industrial enterprise riding a wave of technology with an uncanny ability not only to invent far-reaching products but also to produce them commercially.

Um… no.

Google still earns the vast bulk of its revenues by selling search-targeted ads. NTTAWWT, either — Google is the best at what it does.

But what are these other commercial products? Android? Google makes more money from searches on iOS than it does on Android. And after sinking $12 billion into Motorola trying to defend Android, it’s probably a net money-loser.

So what about Moto, aren’t they selling great Android phones for Google? Not really. Moto is an also-ran, and Samsung commands damn near every penny of profit in the market for Android-powered phones. Horace Dediu even did a study a while back that, thanks to Amazon and the weirdness of the cheap Chinese domestic market, Google’s ownership of Android is only about 60% of sales.

Google’s Nexus-branded tablets? Google won’t reveal its sales figures, so who knows. But Google not revealing its sales figures is hardly an encouraging sign.

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Google Glass? That’s still in beta. And right now the market potential for $1,500 spy-wear with a reputation for creepiness and a three-hour battery life looks limited.

Google+? It’s no Facebook.

Google Office? Gmail? Fine products, but really just offshoots of Google’s search engine. They sell you to advertisers; they don’t sell anything to you. Again, NTTAWWT, but it’s a far cry from Gapper’s claim. Same story with Google Maps. It’s great technology — whose sole purpose is to collect your data and push ads at you.

Gapper is on firmer ground when he says that new-ish CEO Larry Page has tightened the company’s focus. He certainly has. But what Page hasn’t done is made Google a profitable player in much of anything outside of search.

He may well do so — he’s a smart man with a big vision and deep pockets. But he’s not there yet.


Cross-posted from Vodkapundit, Related today: “Somebody’s Watching Me

Stephen Green began blogging at in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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Next you are going to say it's just an ad company. Though didn't somebody once say that everything one day will be free by being supported through advertising?

Actually, it kind of reminds me of Xerox who came up with a lot neat stuff but didn't monetize it themselves. Google Maps is by far my favorite product of theirs. It saves a lot time and even more headaches with just a few clicks. LOL, the Motorola buy was inadvisable given the lack of expertise in manufacturing or a successful consumer hardware product development line. I don't think their own phone originally made by HTC was that hot?

I have this crappy Motorola box on my desk for cable T.V. This is the one area I was hoping they could inject some life but they sold off that line of business. Not sure why considering they have Google Fiber and seemingly have an interest in home services.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep, Google is a one-trick pony unless they diversify their revenue stream, and they keep failing at that time after time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't use Google unless Bing cannot find what I'm looking for. Only exception is Google Maps, which is still tops. Google has some neat things for iOS, but Siri and Apple Maps generally do what I need.
1 year ago
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